What is the Economic Development and Finance Alliance (EDFA) of Tuscarawas County?
The EDFA of Tuscarawas County is an economic development agency.
Is the EDFA a Port Authority?
Yes, the EDFA was created as the Tuscarawas County Port Authority by the Tuscarawas Commissioners in 2000.
What is a Port Authority?
In Ohio, port authorities are government entities created by political subdivisions under Ohio Revised Code Section 4582.
Tuscarawas County commissioners created the Tuscarawas County Port Authority (now called the EDFA) in the year 2000 to promote the retention, expansion and acquisition of businesses in the county.
What do Port Authorities do?
Ohio law provides for port authorities to construct facilities, issue bonds, make loans and sell or buy real and personal property. Port authorities also possess many powers similar to other local governments in Ohio. Those functions include operating airports, river ports and lake ports; owning railroad lines; developing industrial and commercial property; owning and operating special facilities including a former Air Force base, a downtown theater, parks and a resort complex; managing foreign trade zones; serving as sources of bond financing for commercial development; and administering community and economic development programs.
The EDFA has:
- Developed the Reeves Mill Business Park
- Created the Business Factory a small business incubator for start-up businesses
- Coordinated financing opportunities for growing businesses
- Issued Conduit Bond Debt to support the growth of Businesses and Organizations in Tuscarawas County and the region
- Redeveloped more than 70 acres of Brownfield land at four sites across the county
- Renovated more than 1,000,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space
What can a Port Authority do that Other Government Entities Cannot?
One key function a port authority can perform that a city cannot is to sell and lease publicly owned property. In most cases, municipalities and counties must sell or lease through public bid. Port authorities are specifically exempted from this requirement and can be a conduit for the sale of excess government property for the benefit of economic development. Port authorities are also able to perform functions across jurisdictions, serving as a conduit for intergovernmental agreements and functions.
The EDFA’s territory encompasses all of Tuscarawas County, Ohio. However, we've also worked with federal agencies, the state of Ohio and other port authorities to serve businesses.
Do Port Authorities Receive Government Subsidy?
Some port authorities do receive a subsidy, though many do not. Port authorities are able to receive, appropriate and expend public funds. Many port authorities are supported by fees or leases on port authority facilities. Ohio law permits port authorities to levy a property tax when voted in by voters within the port authority's jurisdiction.
The EDFA is self-supporting. Our main sources of revenue are commercial leases, property sales, Building Plan Fees, and Public Warehousing Fees.
Are Port Authorities Exempt from Taxes?
Like many government entities, port authority net incomes and port authority property used for government functions are tax-exempt. However, facilities leased for commercial purposes are fully taxable.
The EDFA pays real property tax for those portions of its property that are leased to private companies.
Who Oversees Port Authorities?
Port authorities fall under a variety of checks and balances. For one, the political subdivision that creates a port authority is responsible for appointing the board of directors of the port authority and have the power to change or dissolve the port authority's charter.
The EDFA’s Board of Directors is appointed by the county commissioners. Additionally, the state auditor is responsible for auditing port authorities and publishing audit findings every two years. Finally, the records of port authorities are treated as public records (except certain confidential business data) and port authority board meetings are open to the public under Ohio's Sunshine Law.